Divorce and debt: avoiding a nasty surprise

divorce debt

Spouses often think that debt the other spouse has incurred during marriage can’t affect them after a divorce. Not true. Creditors can look for repayment from both spouses after a divorce, even though one spouse has agreed to pay the bill. Creditors are not negatively affected by a divorce judgment.

“If only one spouse goes through bankruptcy, under Wisconsin’s marital property law there might be a nasty surprise for the other spouse. All of those bills could be dumped on that spouse,” said attorney Maureen Kinney. A spouse with higher earnings might be ineligible to discharge the debts in bankruptcy.

“If there are large unsecured debts or people have a mortgage on the home and there is more debt than the house is worth, we have to look at all of the assets and debts and the ability to repay them to make sure there are not unintended consequences relating to the way debt payments are allocated,” said Kinney.


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